Production of polymers by cyanobacteria grown in wastewater: current status, challenges and future perspectives
Rights accessOpen Access
European Commission's projectINCOVER - Innovative Eco-Technologies for Resource Recovery from Wastewater (EC-H2020-689242)
Cyanobacteria are prokaryotic oxygenic phototrophs receiving attention in a wide variety of technological applications such as food and feed supplements and production of valuable polymers. Among these, carbohydrates (e.g. glycogen) and polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) are of increasing interest due to their potential as a biofuel substrate and bioplastics, respectively. However, biofuels and bioplastics from cyanobacteria have seen many years of effort towards commercialization with only limited success. Their main limitation for polymer production is the high cost of the nutrient source; wastewater, as an inexpensive and widely available alternative, may overcome this bottleneck. Though cyanobacteria have demonstrated a capacity to treat wastewater effluents, their cultivation in such a variable environment involves certain challenges of which the chief one is linked to contamination by other species, especially green algae. This would represent a serious drawback during cyanobacterial biomass production and affect further PHA and carbohydrate production. The present study reviews the potential of cyanobacteria to grow in wastewater effluents from different sources. Conditions favoring them in mixed-culture reactors are described, focusing on nutritional and operational aspects. Current advances and future prospects in PHA and carbohydrate production are explored and discussed.
CitationArias, D.M.; Garcia, J.; Uggetti, E. Production of polymers by cyanobacteria grown in wastewater: current status, challenges and future perspectives. "New biotechnology", Març 2020, vol. 55, p. 46-57.